It’s not about promiscuity, which makes you sound square; it’s not about prostitution, which makes you sound dirty; it’s about sex-trafficking, which makes you sound like you’re on the side of the angels, know-nothing though they might be. - Michael Wolff
Amazingly Stupid Statements
“Just Don’t Call It Slut-Shaming: A Feminist Guide to Silencing Sex Workers” is a funny and dead-on-target lampoon of neofeminist anti-whore rhetoric in the form of a mock primer. Definitely a must-read.
Cracks in the Dam
Canadian courts slap down another government attempt to stop sex workers from claiming human rights:
The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the right of a non-profit group representing women…in downtown Vancouver’s sex trade to challenge the country’s anti-prostitution laws on constitutional grounds. The ruling means the Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society can go back to B.C. Supreme Court to pursue a case it launched five years ago…
The government’s argument against the suit relied on the sophistry that one of the parties in the suit (Sheryl Kiselbach) was no longer affected by the laws due to being retired, and that the other party (the DESWUAVS) could not be affected because it was an organization, therefore neither had the right to sue. But the judge realized that the government’s claim that streetwalkers had to bring such suits individually was absurd, and ruled in favor of the group. It’s not only good news for sex workers, but for other marginalized Canadians as well:
…[attorney] Katrina Pacey…explained [that] “This would provide a real opportunity for marginalized people, people with mental health issues, people with HIV, prisoners, refugees, children to form a collective organization whereby they then have the support and capacity to bring these cases forward, as a community”…
The bad economy and political tensions between their countries have combined to make things increasingly difficult for Chinese whores in Japan, creating a dangerously unbalanced buyer’s market:
…“Rumors have been spreading that Chinese girls have been beaten up by Japanese Johns, and some of them are even begging off on transactions with customers they don’t know out of fears for their safety,” says “pink” journalist Yasuhiro Ebina. “Many Chinese women tend to be blunt and unsociable, but of late they are forcing themselves to smile, and have been primping themselves to improve their appearance. Before a deri heru (out-call sex) service might have charged an additional 8,000 yen for honban (the “real thing,” i.e., intercourse), but now they’ve knocked as much as 5,000 yen off the total price”…women from Shanghai tend to be proud and many refuse to dispense oral sex, but over the past week they are now even providing lip service bareback. And some ladies from Dalian or Harbin are even allowing customers condom-free rides…
Forward and Backward
The stupidity, it burns! ”…[Washington, D.C.] police lieutenant Jeffery Carroll told residents at a neighborhood meeting…that [a perceived] jump in [street] prostitution may be related to the surge in construction activity and increase in construction workers in the neighborhood. Carroll told residents that prostitution activity typically takes place between midnight and…6:00 a.m. The recent surge has come between 3:30 and 7:30 a.m. or else at around 3:30 p.m….which police say could correlate to changes in construction shifts…“
Not To Be Taken Internally
Yet another poor fool has died from allowing a non-doctor to inject filth into her arse in a non-medical setting:
…52-year-old Morris Garner…who has had gender changing procedures and goes by the name Tracey Lynn Garner, is charged with depraved-heart murder in the March death of 37-year-old Karima Gordon, of Atlanta…Gordon became ill within 30 minutes of leaving Garner’s house in Jackson after…injection [of a silicone-like substance into her buttocks] but decided to try to make it home to Georgia before seeking medical treatment…[investigator Lee McDivitt]…said her chance of surviving the injections was small, anyway…”The [medical examiner] told me…[that when he] cut the victim open…this material ran all over the floor, all over their shoes, all over the place”…
What I can’t understand is why so many of these self-proclaimed cosmetic surgeons are transgendered.
Above the Law
Once again: As long as government actors have excessive power over individuals, this will keep happening: “…Pittsburgh Public Schools police officer…Robert Lellock…was arrested…[on] 23 counts of crimes including corruption of minors, child endangerment and sex crimes…” Lellock allegedly raped several 13-14 year old boys, ensuring their silence by a combination of threats to kill their families and rewards of marijuana and class-skipping privileges.
An Example To the West
You may remember that DMSC had formed its own football (soccer) team for the children of Calcutta sex workers; well, two of the boys were picked for a world championship team: “Two sons of sex workers from India’s eastern state of West Bengal will play soccer…in the Indian…team for the Homeless World Soccer Cup 2012 in Mexico…’This is a big achievement in integrating children of sex workers with the mainstream sports community,’ said Dr Samarjit Jana of DMSC.”
The Birth of a Movement
This Guardian article is mostly about sex workers’ reaction to the socialist scheme to inflict the Swedish model on France, but it also contains interesting information on French hookers’ efforts to circumvent busybody laws and the sleazy tricks cops use to harass them.
…The “white van women”…embody the French state’s difficult attitudes to prostitution. As in the UK, prostitution itself…is not a crime. But…[a] 2003…law [forbids being]…in a public place known for prostitution dressed in revealing clothes. To get round this, women started working in private vans. Selling sex inside a vehicle was not breaking the law. But police are now using any means to crack down on the growing number of sex-work vans, namely parking tickets and tow-trucks…some…owe thousands of euros in parking tickets and pound-release fines accrued each month…
Shift in the Wind
An excellent op-ed against “end demand” rhetoric appeared last Sunday in, of all the unexpected places, The New York Times; I’ll bet Nick Kristof isn’t happy:
…policy makers have started to push to eradicate all prostitution, not just the trafficking of children into the sex trade. Under the catchphrase “no demand, no supply,” they advocate increasing criminal penalties against men who buy sex — a move they believe will upend the market that fuels prostitution and sex trafficking…[but] the “end demand” campaign will harm trafficking victims and sex workers more than it helps them…End-demand advocates’ prototypical victim — an abused teenage girl…forced into the sex trade…does exist. But they disregard the fact that individuals, including boys, men and transgender people, enter the sex trade for a variety of reasons. The pimped girl who has inflamed the public’s imagination needs government services and protection, not to be made into a symbolic figure in an ideological battle to eradicate the entire sex industry, which, like many other sectors, includes adults laboring in conditions ranging from upscale to exploitative, from freely chosen to forced…despite their righteous anger, the end-demand crowd is quick to dismiss what many sex workers actually have to say. Some activists have gone so far as to brand those who criticize their campaign as “house slaves” unable to recognize their own oppression…
The writer is being polite; Melissa Farley’s actual term was “house nigger”. The article goes on to strongly criticize the Swedish model, flatly stating that it has failed to reduce prostitution and explaining how it harms women; it reports that most abuse of sex workers is by police rather than clients or “pimps” as claimed by the prohibitionists; and it discusses real solutions very much like those advocated in this blog. The article is not long, and well worth your time.
Worse Than I Thought
Proposition 35 is so awful (Chorus: How awful is it?) that even trafficking victim advocates oppose it:
…The opponents, who range from a South Bay nonprofit to a co-author of California’s current law against trafficking, say that, instead of helping, Proposition 35 will set back their work by years. Chief among their concerns is the measure’s focus on hefty penalties rather than a collaborative attack on the problem…That approach, they say, ignores the victims…[they] also condemn the discrepancy between penalties for labor and sex trafficking…Most victims don’t end up in the sex trade…yet Proposition 35 provides for lower penalties for labor victims…
The Phoenix Pharisees
The Maricopa County sheriff’s office only “treats prostitutes as trafficking victims” when they find it convenient: “…Over the course of a month, detectives made 37 arrests on suspicion of prostitution-related crimes…in an unincorporated area of the county tucked between Tempe and Guadalupe…suspects made contact with an undercover deputy, who secured an offer of sex for money and then used a code word as a signal for other deputies to storm the hotel room…” “Code word?” “Stormed” the room? Their pomposity would be hilarious if they weren’t ruining the lives of real women.
Thoughts On My First Conference
I’m the third interviewee in this video. It’s not very long, but I still figured y’all would want to see it.
Parting of the Ways
This Guardian op-ed presents Michael Wolff’s opinion of the Backpage-Village Voice split; though he has no love for Lacey and Larkin he has even less for Kristof and company, and the article provides the interesting tidbit that some of the anti-Backpage campaign was funded by the Church of Scientology in revenge for the Voice’s relentless attacks on it.
Bad Fantasy, Good Reality in TW3 (#7)
Cambodian cops are learning to parrot their American masters quite well:
Chan Sreynuch, the owner of Mikasa Coiffure and Beauty…was arrested…on suspicion of human trafficking, according to the national military police spokesman Kheng Tito…According to him, Sreynuch would lead young women — often aspiring singers and students — to her salon, then connect them with wealthy businessmen…Three of her manicured and coiffed callgirls were also detained…[and] sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Hall’s rehabilitation centre for “re-education”…
Coming and Going in TW3 (#12)
“Anna Gristina…has pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution…[she] will be sentenced…to time served and probation as part of a plea deal. The judge warned the Scotland-born woman she could also be deported…”
An Example To the West in TW3 (#14)
“Workers in the [Korean] sex industry called…for the scrapping or revision of anti-sex trafficking laws…[which limit their] rights to sexual autonomy and their freedom to enjoy a free sex life as adults…another sex worker surnamed Kim submitted a petition…for…judgment on whether the laws are constitutionally acceptable…“
Real People in TW3 (#21)
British prohibitionist Julie Bindel interviewed the Fokkens sisters, the elderly Dutch whores about whom a documentary was recently made; unsurprisingly, she only reports the negative parts and dismisses the “rosy picture the twins paint of prostitution” as just a kind of weird twin-thing. Of course she is pleased to report that the Fokkens say legalization has been bad for Dutch hookers (largely because of the exaggerated tax assessments European officials commonly use to persecute sex workers), but cannot or will not comprehend that no sex worker rights organization in the world supports Dutch-style legalization.
Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic in TW3 (#29)
If you’re impressed by those brain studies that “prove” porn, sugar, the internet or whatever is “as addictive as cocaine”, you need to consider the study which won this year’s Ig Nobel Prize in neuroscience “for demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere — even in a dead salmon.”
This Week in 2011
My columns on Mabon and Banned Books Week were followed by others on misuse of the word “vagina”, the fallacy of “empowerment”, dehumanization of whores, dominatrices in the news and women’s views of male sex workers.
This Week in 2010
My first Mabon column, the problems caused by unsatisfied male sex drives, my sex-related pet peeves, one of my earliest columns on “sex trafficking” hysteria and an angry reply to it, the growth of opposition toward prohibition and my announcement of the Himel decision.
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